It's well worth the pain it may cause to your credit card.


You've heard the old adage before and have undoubtedly seen it in the pages of our magazine: You get what you pay for. The EOS 30D is priced toward the high end for a prosumer digital SLR camera, but it lives up to all the artistic demands you have as a photographer.


While there aren't many differences between the EOS 30D and its predecessor, the EOS 20D, the most notable change is the LCD on the back of the camera: The EOS 20D has a 1.8-inch LCD with 118,000 pixels; the EOS 30D has a 2.5-inch LCD with 230,000 pixels. The larger LCD is a vast improvement for reviewing your photos, because when you enlarge a photo in the LCD to check for proper focus, you can see more of the image.


The EOS 30D has 8.2 million pixels on a CMOS imager measuring 22.5 by 15 millimeters - when you use any of Canon's EF series of lenses, you will gain a 1.6x multiplier on that lens's focal length. You can also use Canon's EF-S series of lenses with no multiplier effect. The camera's body has separate mounting indicators on the lens mount for each series of lenses.


While the EOS 30D has a hot shoe to mount an external electronic flash, the camera also comes with a flash built in to the top of the camera's viewfinder; when you pop it open, it stands high above the camera. We found the built-in flash to be more than adequate for any number of typical situations, but you can still use a different flash if the situation calls for it. During a series of events we photographed, we found that the camera did not require a battery recharge, even after it had captured 500 images.


The EOS 30D has a basic ISO range of 100 to 1,600, expandable to 3,200, in 1/3-stop increments. To test the ISO, we took shots of a middle-school stage play; the lighting was what you might expect for a school play - good for viewing the young thespians but challenging for shooting photos. We increased the ISO from the nominal 100 to 800, a three-stop increase, and we were impressed with the images. If you think you'll need to capture images in low light, the EOS 30D should be more than up to the task.


Overall, the EOS 30D gave us the image quality we expect from a high-end prosumer digital SLR camera - all the images we shot exhibited good color fidelity, and they sharpened up nicely in our favorite image manipulation apps. And when we set the camera to save using the best-quality JPEG level (there are six different save formats, including RAW, and files are saved to CompactFlash cards), we saw little to no evidence of JPEG artifacts. Since the EOS 30D is PictBridge-compatible, it can also print images directly to a printer via USB; you control the print settings through the camera's LCD. There's also a video-out port (cable included) for connecting the EOS 30D to a TV and viewing the images on a big screen.


The bottom line. If you can afford the EOS 30D, buy it. If you need to save for it, then be patient - eating ramen for a month to save up the extra cash is worth it. You won't be disappointed with the EOS 30D.


CONTACT: 800-652-2666, www.canon.com
PRICE: $1,399 (body only), $1,499 (with lens)
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.2 or later, USB
Great image quality and color fidelity.
A little pricey.





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